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Everything posted by Butt_Rogers

  1. A lot of people feel that Galaxian was rendered completely obsolete by Galaga. Why play Galaxian when you can play Galaga? It has so many more features, so much more action, it's so much faster paced, the enemies come in so many different patterns. Personally I disagree that Galaxian was rendered obsolete by Galaga. Galaxian is a slower game and you can only have one missile on the screen at a time, but this makes accuracy an imperative and accurately timing your shots is a much bigger deal than in Galaga. I get different things out of both games and enjoy them both. I do understand how most people might prefer Galaga though. It's just so much more fast paced. It's Galaxian on steroids. Galaxian with fuel injection. But ok, if your average person thinks Galaga rendered Galaxian obsolete, then how come Gaplus hasn't rendered Galaga obsolete? I can predict some of the answers. "Well, Galaga came out in 1981, and for 1981 it was groundbreaking. Gaplus came out in 1984, and for 1984 it wasn't groundbreaking, so it never caught on." To me this explains why Gaplus wasn't a huge hit back in the day. The arcades had moved away from the classic fixed shooters to more exciting pastures. But these days people are playing these arcade games at barcades, on Namco Museum game collections on various consoles, or on MAME. I get that many people grew up with Galaga and are going to be nostalgic for it and prefer it on principle. But it seems like a lot of people who didn't grow up with any of these games still only talk about Galaga. If nostalgia isn't what's going on, then what is? Gaplus has a lot more going on than Galaga, as evidenced by this flyer. Unless I'm missing something, Gaplus exceeds Galaga by every metric. So what's the deal? I will say that Gaplus can be cryptic... In Galaga it's pretty straightforward how to get the double-ship. You allow yourself to be captured, sacrifice a life, then retrieve the stolen ship. Not too complicated. In Gaplus you can get the "Hypership", the upside down U shaped ship seen on the title screen, allegedly by shooting the shooting star (literally a yellow star that appears and shoots at you) multiple times. However, I've tried this again and again and again, and every time the shooting star simply disappears after a number of shots. I've managed to shoot it 5 times or so and I never got the Hypership. Apparently there is a way to cheat. "At the start of the first stage, the player must move the ship up the screen until it stops and just let it sit there without shooting anything until all forty-three of the aliens have taken their place in the formation. After the shooting star appears, the player must shoot the second Zako from the left in the bottom row of the formation without hitting any other enemies. A Rally-X Special Flag will then appear, and when the King flies down, the player must crash into him (but not the "blaster head" that he is yielding) and your regular ship will turn into a "Hypership" that can fire three shots on the screen at a time instead of just two. However, if you fail to do this correctly, you will not have any other chances to do this in the game. Firing enough shots on the shooting star that appears if you don't shoot any enemies on the first stage is rumored to also grant the hypership." This does indeed work. But it seems like a cheap trick. So far that's my only complaint with Gaplus. The title screen teases that you can get this cool mysterious ship, but I can't imagine ever figuring out how to get it if I couldn't look it up. It doesn't seem like something someone could ever stumble upon. Most websites simply say that shooting the shooting star can grant the Hypership, but if that's true, I can't figure out how to do it. Pardon the long post. Too long didn't read: 1.) Why isn't Gaplus more popular? Why does Gaplus seem to be the black sheep of the Galaxian/Galaga/Gaplus trilogy? 2.) How the heck are you actually supposed to get the Hypership?
  2. Does anyone else like Lunar Rescue? It starts out pretty easy but gets frantic in a hurry. I think it's hilarious that if you accidentally smash your lander into the side of the ship, you don't lose a life, but the poor bastard you just saved falls out of the craft and goes AAAA! as he falls to his doom. It's pretty morbid really.
  3. I grew up in the 90's in Northern California and my arcade experience was limited to the games they had at the local pizza parlor and movie theater. This consisted of Toki, Super Off Road, Galaxian, and 1942. Of these Galaxian was the only one I really developed a fondness for. At about this same time I discovered that Champ Games released an updated version of Galaxian for DOS called Galaxia, and I had my dad mail away for the full version. Champ Games gimmick was that they made very accurate versions of these classic games, but included a new and improved mode as well. In the new and improved mode your ship could get double fire and triple fire, shields, and speed ups, all while retaining the original Galaxian aesthetic. It was tons of fun.
  4. I wonder if my ROM is simply damaged somehow. I tried it in a bunch of different versions of MAME with the same results. Every copy of Cosmic Guerilla online appears to be the same as well... I too think the little shield things can be really annoying, however a couple waves in I find that the enemies are firing so many projectiles at you they can be a big help. I find myself ducking out from behind them to shoot the enemy and finding them more and more useful as the difficulty increases.
  5. Already posted by someone else King & Balloon is a really unique take on the Space Invaders concept. What's especially interesting is that you can get hit as many times as you want. You only lose a life if the King is abducted by the balloons. This adds some fun strategy to it. It is a little repetitive. I'd still say it's underrated to be sure. For a 1979 game, I do think Cosmic Guerilla is severely underrated. These shooters, Space Invaders, Galaxian, Galaga, Phoenix, they all do very similar things, but I think Cosmic Guerilla really thought outside of the box. It's hard for me to explain why I like it so much, but I think it's because there's so much going on. You have to balance the left and right hand sides of the screen. Sometimes an enemy will get turbo-charged and race towards the middle of the screen and steal your stuff. Motherships show up and can be shot for extra points. Little attacker UFOs show up on the bottom of the screen and try to zap you. You have to keep track of not just the left and right hand sides of the screen, but also which specific rows are the most vulnerable. If the enemy has a clear route to one of your lives/temples in the middle of the screen, you have to prioritize defending that. There's just a lot going on in Cosmic Guerilla. In Space Invaders all you do is shoot the enemy, and dodge the enemy lasers. In Galaxian it's the same thing. In Galaga it's the same thing. I feel like Cosmic Guerilla makes me use just a little more of my brain. Of course, the ROM doesn't seem to work properly for me and I can't get any sound and it crashes pretty often... I'm resolving to fix this so I can continue trying to get higher and higher scores. Here's some gameplay footage:
  6. Here's the issue I've been having. Sometimes when I lose a life the screen seems to freeze. The goatmen turn red, frozen in position. The maidens & temples turn pink. And the score (the 1460 in this image) starts flashing. Meanwhile, both the flying saucer and mothership (seen in the top of this image) continue showing up. Pressing start doesn't do anything, but I can still add coins and they register. Furthermore, I noticed that when I run the ROM via command line it says I'm missing all the sound effects. I just assumed the game was silent. I wonder how I can fix this. Edit: I just tried this rom in MAME 0.205 and it suffers the same issues. No sound, and I still get the frozen screen with flashing score but the enemy UFOs keep periodically flying across the screen.
  7. There are a bunch of early arcade games that tried to ape the success of Space Invaders. Some were fun, many were forgettable. I've been playing Cosmic Guerilla on MAME and I think it's one of the very best of these early arcade shooters. In the game the enemies are goatmen (according to the cabinet artwork) arranged in columns on the left and right hand side of the screen, where you cannot shoot them. The center of the screen is dominated by temples (laser guns? pyramids?), which represent your lives, and maidens (according to the cabinet artwork) that are guarding the temples. The goatmen begin advancing towards the center of the screen, and when they reach one of the maidens, they drag them off to the side of the screen, removing them from the game, then begin the trek back to the center to abduct more. If eventually a goatman reaches one of your temples, he will try to drag the temple to the edge of the screen, and if he succeeds you lose a life. As the levels increase the goatmen move faster and fire more projectiles. You have to juggle shooting goatmen on either side of the screen. Sometimes one goatman will get turbo charged and race in and abduct a maiden/temple at a high speed, and will keep stealing maidens until you manage to shoot him. Occasionally flying saucers will zoom in and try to shoot you, shooting it gives bonus points. A mothership sometimes flies across the upper screen and shooting it gives lots of bonus points. One aspect of the game I wasn't prepared for is that each "level" brings new goatmen, but you never get more maidens or temples (you can win an extra temple/life as a points reward). As your maidens/temples get stolen, that's it, they don't ever come back. This makes it imperative that you shoot those marauding goatmen that are running off with your maidens. Every time they succeed defeat looms closer. This game does the "frantic and hectic" thing very well. I have to say, this is one of the most addictive fixed shooters I've ever played, and I've tried to play all of them. I discovered it last night and woke up excited to play more. My highest score so far is 4910, and while not much in almost any other game, for an hour or two of playing I'm pretty happy with it. I do look forward to getting better. The ROM file does seem to be damaged. I get a warning in MAME stating that "There are known problems with this machine", and true enough, the game crashes on me sometimes. It will freeze and my score will start blinking and I can't seem to do anything about it. I'm using an older version of MAME so that might be the issue. I will note that the name of the game is nonsensical and ridiculous. Take the promotional flyer for the game. "Dodge the Guerilla!" What guerilla? "Protect your laser guns!" What laser guns? Is the player icon supposed to represent a temple, a laser gun, or an archer on a dragon? Because of the name I thought this game would be garbage, but it's apparently simply the victim of nonsensical marketing.
  8. To me what sets Enduro apart is that it's all about reflexes. It's exciting to be weaving in and out of traffic at breakneck speeds, hitting the breaks and accelerating to pass traffic snarls, flying past dozens, hundreds of cars at seemingly supersonic speeds. In Rad Racer the challenge isn't so much avoiding cars, it's handling the turns and not flying off the track. You're passing cars at a more sedate pace, at least in the early stages. You're not flying past them like you have a rocket strapped to your car. In Enduro you can't fly off the track, but hitting the edge of the track does seem to slow you down, so you don't want to do it. I prefer that penalty. In Rad Racer if you fly off the track even 2 times you very likely ruined your chances of winning. In Enduro, you can run into cars 5 times, and if you have the reflexes of a genetically engineered superman, you can still survive to the next day. I love it when the timer starts beeping at you, and you still have 50 or more cars to pass, so you throw caution to the wind and accelerate like an insane rocketman and still somehow beat the countdown and make it to the next day of game play. Love it. In Rad Racer I think there's a certain optimal speed for taking every turn in the game. In Enduro, the 'optimal speed' for the clear weather areas, the foggy areas, and the ice areas, is as fast as you can possibly react to the oncoming cars. Rad Racer is a fine game but I find Enduro much more exciting. However that's not to say I prefer a reaction based game like Enduro all the time. Mach Rider (NES) is almost entirely reaction time based, and it's 100% impossible. It's too fast. You don't have time to react to all the things flying at you from ahead and behind. I have yet to meet someone who's actually good at Mach Rider. It seems like such a cool game but it requires reflexes humans just don't have. Enduro, on the other hand, is challenging but I find that on a good day i can reach Day 5 and get the little trophy that appears on the display. Never made it to Day 6, but I'm getting better and better at the game.
  9. Enduro isn't just a great game for the 2600, it's a better racing game than most of the offerings in the NES / GB era. For instance, one of the Game Boy's launch titles was F1 Race which is very similar to Enduro - but far worse. The only NES/GB era racing game I like more than Enduro is Super R.C. Pro Am on the GB.
  10. I just watched the Asteroids youtube video linked in this thread and, y'know, I thought that was pretty good. It's a neat way to expand the universe of these games. But now I want to play Asteroids with a RPC-60A4 with magnetic bubble memories, hypserspace shields, and photon torpedoes...
  11. Individual cartridges did in fact add additional RAM, namely the Sara Superchip used in games like Secret Quest and Dark Chambers, which added an additional 256 bytes of RAM. More RAM = more detail, more game that can be displayed at the same time. The 2600 only had 128 bytes of RAM. The Supercharger added 6 KB.
  12. I've tried so hard to like this game. I understand that it's well regarded. I like the idea of driving some kind of space tank that can jump - those are the best parts of Blaster Master on the NES. But something about the jumping mechanics just infuriates me. I can't get it right, and I've tried using the save state function in stella to really master it. But nope. It's hard for me to even describe. The jumping is an integral part of this game, and it doesn't feel right. My estimations of when to jump are almost always wrong. Jumping over consecutive boulders is a recipe for frustration. It's like if the trajectory of your jump was just a little different, I'd love this game, but as it is, it's just a little shallow and it keeps throwing me off. And the hit detection! I feel like if I get close to a boulder my moon tank explodes. Take the double jump above. This is only the second leg of the game. You're just starting out. And the game throws this at you. Blast the poop then jump? You'll run into the second poop. Accelerate and jump the first poop, then the second? Doable, but requires exacting precision. Slow down, shoot the first poop, jump, shoot the second poop, jump? This works too, but again, it requires exacting precision. There's no farting around with this jump. You can't half ass it. You can't be a little off. You have to nail it or the moon poops will laugh at you. And so many of the jumps are like this. It's almost like the Slow Jump doesn't go far enough, and the Medium & Fast jumps go too far. It never feels right. I went and downloaded the rom for Moon Patrol Arcade, and I don't find these issues in the arcade game. Jumping is intuitive and I never had a single problem jumping over anything in the first game area (zones A to Z), including the mine area. I did go through a dollar or three in imaginary quarters. Now, the next game area (the second A to Z course), the champion course or whatever, is absolutely impossible. I've been trying to jump a canyon defended by tanks for 10 minutes and I can't figure out how. But, the first game area is really fun and I enjoyed it a lot. How come jumping feels intuitive in Moon Patrol Arcade but infuriating and mysterious in Moon Patrol 2600?
  13. I haven't played a great deal of Golf 2600, but I had a lot of fun the times I did play. According to my txt file of high scores the best I've done is a 47. On a par 36 course. So clearly I'm not very good at the game, but it's still a lot of fun. The only thing that's baffling at first is how to aim. It's a little wonky, but a quick read of the manual remedies that. I don't like the real life game of golf. If I want to play a dexterity game I'll play Darts or Crokinole. Crokinole is an amazing game. Party favorite. Everyone who has ever played it loves it. And it takes up a small part of the dining room table. Not a hundred acres of prime real estate and millions of gallons of water. But I do enjoy arcade style golf games like Golf 2600 and Golf on the Game Boy, stuff like that. It's a good casual, fun, laid back time. I think an updated Golf 2600 would make a great choice for a homebrew project. I mean, there's only two moving objects on the screen, the player, and the ball. A programmer could focus on having many different courses to choose from, a refined aiming mechanic, better graphics, etc. Golf was a 2K game. Imagine the possibilities with a 32K game. It seems like it would be one of the easier projects to undertake, and one that would provide a tremendous amount of game play and replayability, assuming one could pack in a ton of courses. Golf has 9 holes. What if an updated version had 45 holes in 5 courses, each course selectable from the start menu (like a SpiceWare game). It's too easy for me to start fantasizing about this sort of thing...
  14. I've only played it in Stella, but it does seem like you only need one gun. Also, until many waves in, the enemy only seemed to target my left gun. Maybe I'm right gun dominant and wasn't paying attention to that side? Edit: That being said I did really enjoy it when I tried it out. I think Commando Raid would be my favorite of these games if the gun controls and hit detection for the paratroopers wasn't so wonky. Commando Raid would be awesome if it had a target reticle interface like Colony 7 in my opinion. I definitely dig that aspect of Colony 7. That was a great design choice.
  15. I've been playing the latest release off and on since it came out and I'm having tons of fun with it. I'll say it again, most impressive, fun, replayable, best looking shooter on the 2600 in my opinion. I've only made it to Level 5 but I'm excited to get further with more practice. It blows my mind that most of the Bosconian arcade machines were converted to Galaga machines because Galaga made more money. I like Galaga as much as the next guy but Bosconian has so much more going on.
  16. I went and played a version of Super Star Trek as well as an older DOS version of Star Trek that's very close to Stellar Track. In Super Star Trek they changed the torpedo mechanics so you just input the sector you want to fire on. If there's a Klingon in sector 2-5, you just target 2-5 with a torpedo. This takes a lot of the fun out of it for me and means maneuvering is a lot less important. In Stellar Track it's a lot of fun to realize you can back up and line up with several enemy ships on the horizontal/vertical/diagonal axes and then take them out one after the other from the same firing position. It's also fun trying to figure out the least number of sector hops necessary to bring your torpedoes to bear on all the enemy ships. The older Star Trek game I played was much closer to Stellar Track, but with some oddities. The background of your Short Range Scan is totally blank. No grid, no dots. So lining up a diagonal torpedo shot is more annoying, to the point that it gives you an option of having the computer calculate the course for you. This just seems unnecessary. The interface is also a bit wonky and not intuitive, although this could undoubtedly be remedied with more practice. Systems break down for no reason. You can just be transiting an empty quadrant and bam. Your phasers break down. I don't think that adds to the fun at all and injects more random number generator frustration into a game that's already tough to beat. None of these old Star Trek games have any sort of animation. If you fire a torpedo at a Klingon and the Klingon is destroyed, the Klingon is removed from the screen as soon as you fire the torpedo. No torpedo flying across the screen, no explosion, no sound effects. On most versions the Klingon isn't even removed from the map. Due to it being a game that could be played via a paper printout, to see the new state of the quadrant map you'd have to either do another Short Range Scan or clear/redraw the screen for any changes to show up. I played a version of Super Star Trek that has had countless additions made to it. Many of the popular additions people would add back when this game was super popular in the BASIC community. Probes, the ability to land on planets and mine dilithium crystals (for extra energy), black holes in every quadrant that can destroy your ship without warning, and more. It seemed a bit forced. Have you played those board games where the company keeps adding expansions but the expansions just make the game more complicated without really making the game better in any substantial way? It sort of felt like that. Especially the black holes. I don't want to warp into a new quadrant and fly into a black hole and die my very first turn. Whoever thought this was a good idea is an idiot. So what am I getting at? All these Star Trek games, all variations of the same game, have their issues. But I think Stellar Track might be the best of the 1970's / early 1980's versions. There's a lot of little touches that make Stellar Track more enjoyable. It dispenses with stuff you don't really need, like having a separate Shield Energy, while adding torpedo animations and sound effects that make it more immersive. I started playing these other versions thinking, what with the limitations of the 2600, the "full" version of the game and the expanded and updated version must be even more fun, but at least for me, it wasn't the case at all. To me Stellar Track seems really polished and streamlined in comparison. I just spent over an hour playing two more good games and each time came within a stardate of winning but still lost. It definitely has a little bit of that original Rogue aesthetic, where the game is definitely stacked against you, and not only do you have to be on the top of your game, but you also have to get a bit lucky. But that's what makes the game so replayable. They managed to hit that sweet spot where you know you can win. You just can't seem able to, time and time again. And then when you do, it's a rush.
  17. I was wondering. In an earlier post I postulate that an early version of the Star Trek game was used as the basis for Stellar Track due to memory limitations. That brings up an idea. How hard would it be to port one of the later versions such as Super Star Trek to the 2600? Graphics are minimal or nonexistent. Source code for Super Star Trek is readily available. There is far more space to work with than the 4k used for Stellar Track. I'm not a programmer, but it seems like in the realm of 2600 programming a Super Star Trek port wouldn't be that difficult. Edit: Damn. As I was typing this I figured I should go learn a bit more about Super Star Trek, so I watched some YouTube videos. Super Star Trek has wayyy more options than Stellar Track. Stellar Track has 'Galaxy Map, Status, Photon, Phasors, Warp, SR Scan, LR Scan'. 7 commands. Super Star Trek apparently has 36 commands. That's a way, way, way more complicated game. Still, Stellar Track is a 4k game. I don't see why Super Star Trek wouldn't fit on a 32k cart. The real issue would be figuring out some sort of elegant menu system... The menu system in Stellar Track would be wildly cumbersome with 36 commands... Still, it would be way cool, and if done right, would be an improvement over Super Star Trek. Being able to navigate an intuitive menu and selecting which command you want from the comfort of your couch would be vastly preferable to typing in commands for a great many people. Fantasy rant: Over
  18. I'm down to play some quirky 2600 games... I've really tried to give this game a shot, but it's just frustrating. In some platformer games, you fall down down a lot, but half the fun in platforming is jumping from platform to platform, so ascending back up to where you were isn't a chore, it's part of the fun. In ET you just hold the button, and press up, and hope to god that you've figured out how to not fall back in the hole. It takes time. It's tedious. It's not fun. There's no interaction. It's time you waste waiting for the fun to start and it never does. I get that there's a trick to not falling back into the holes, I get that practice makes perfect, I get that it all makes sense after a while... But I just don't think I have any interest in mastering this game, or even beating it, ever. I don't like the game play. If I was a child when this game came out and my folks got it for me, I would have been absolutely gutted that they spent such a large amount of money on something I wouldn't be able to enjoy no matter how hard I tried.
  19. I've dabbled in all the spaceship sim games for the 2600, and Phaser Patrol was the only one I decided to sit down and really get to know. There's something about the firing mechanics of Phaser Patrol. The sound effects. It's really, really satisfying when your torpedo homes in on a ship and destroys it. It's not impossible to get the highest ranking in Phaser Patrol either. (Keep in mind, I'm playing it emulated.) I like the colors, I like the way the enemy ships look, I like the sound effects, I like the starmap, I like everything about Phaser Patrol. I also enjoy how hard it is to actually hit the enemy ships - despite the homing torpedoes. The ships jitter around like crazy and it feels so nice when the reticle goes red and you have the reflexes to hit the fire button and you see that torpedo home in on the enemy ship and destroy it. It's really satisfying when you kill 3 or 4 ships in a row with one shot. To me Phaser Patrol is the king of these games.
  20. One neat thing about the "Star Trek Text Game", of which Stellar Track is a version, is that it spawned countless variations and upgrades. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek_(text_game) It looks like the last new & improved release was in 2014. I've only played Stellar Track. I'm curious to play the popular variations though or even start with the oldest I can find and work my way towards more modern versions. From what I read Stellar Track is a close copy of the EARLY version of the Star Trek Text Game. For instance, in the later versions, the enemy ships move on every turn. In Stellar Track they stay in the same spot. This makes lining up photon torpedo shots a fairly simple matter. If they were moving the game would be even more challenging. Stellar Track came out in 1980 but 'Super Star Trek' was firmly entrenched as the most popular version of this game by 1979, so my guess is the programmer of Stellar Track chose to use the older, simpler version of the Star Trek Text Game due to the 4k memory constraints of the game cart. In the Wiki it says Jerry Pournelle even created a version of this game. It sort of blows my mind that this game has such a complex and interesting history.
  21. After hours and hours and hours of playing, checking the manual on AtariAge constantly, and surrendering to the aliens again... and again. And again... I just beat Stellar Track for the first time. And I have to say. I love this game. In this last game I screwed up a few times, trying to Quadrant Warp, only to run into a star - which wastes a stardate. Then you have to Sector Warp to get a clear path to the quadrant you want to warp to, then initiate another Quadrant Warp. It only takes a few failed quadrant warps for you to eat up enough stardates that you no longer have enough time to complete your mission. Then Starfleet has to surrender to the aliens because you're an incompetent starship driver. Well, I made it to the final sector. 1 enemy ship left. 1 stardate left. I had 2 photon torpedoes, around 1,000 energy. I lined up my photon shot, aimed, fired. Nothing. My photon launcher was disabled. I'd have to do it the hard way with phasors. I was a ways away from the enemy ship, and phasor damage dissipates with distance, so I charged up a 300 energy phasor blast, and bam, by the grace of almighty Kirk, I destroyed the final enemy ship. Not only did I beat the game, I got the highest ranking somehow (cadet, ensign, lieutenant, captain, commodore, admiral). For the last few sectors my heart was racing. One wrong move, one wrong warp jump, any engine damage, any short range scan damage, and I was dead, having come so close but so far. It was exciting. Thrilling. Nerve wracking. Review. I've had a great time playing this game - but there is a hell of a learning curve, and I have to keep a piece of paper with the numbered course direction wheel on hand in order to play. I feel really sorry for anyone who ever tried to play this game without reading the manual. Even with the manual it took me quite a few games to figure out all the nuances and commit all the rules to memory. Quadrant warps take 100 energy and 1 stardate per quadrant. Sector warps take 10 energy per space. And if you initiate a quadrant jump, and run into a star in sector, your warp is aborted, you lose 100 energy, you lose 1 stardate, and then you have to sector jump away from the star, and do it all over again, losing yet another 100 energy and 1 stardate. It's very, very easy to do this. You have to be vigilant in this game. Don't enter a quadrant jump when you mean to enter a sector jump. Don't run into a star and waste time and energy. Move around in-sector as little as possible. If you have to destroy an enemy ship with phasors, it might be advisable to damage them from a distance before moving in for the kill, as damaged enemy ships aren't able to damage you as much. If you warp into a sector, and are extremely close to more than one ship, it's probably advisable to kill them all with a high powered phasor shot because phasors will target all ships in sector at once - but beware, the phasor shot power is divided among all enemy ships. If there are three enemy ships, each ship one space away, then a 300 power phasor shot should be enough to destroy all three (in theory) as each enemy ship has 99 health. If they're further than one space away, you have to guesstimate how much additional power will be required. It's a surprisingly deep game with quite a bit of strategy. Plotting the shortest course, knowing how low to run your energy & torpedo reserves before docking at a starbase, whether to use torpedoes or phasors, how much power to commit to your phasor shots, etc. But there's also a lot of chance. There's a random number generator in there somewhere, and if an enemy ship scores a -7 hit to your engines, that means you have to spend 7 stardates in-sector to repair them. That's seven lost days. That's very likely to cripple your chances of defeating the enemy. If your short range scan is disabled, you can't fight, you can't even dock at a starbase, so you have to putter around for however many days is required to effect repairs and hope you don't get trapped in a cage of stars wasting stardates because you can't see where you're going. It's a quirky game. It's a complicated game. It's got some issues. It's easy to make mistakes that cripple your chances of winning. There are a lot of rules and you're never going to remember them all after reading the manual just once. But it's probably one of the most replayable games on the 2600. It gets your brain going a little bit. It's a thrill when you win. I don't just think this is a good game, I think this is a great game. I'm happy I finally took the time to figure it out and really get to know it and understand all the quirks.
  22. This could very well turn into my all time favorite 2600 game. I really love the difficulty curve in Bosconian. The first couple rounds are not too challenging. But by round 6, things are getting crazy, and when you get a Red Alert, it's absolute frantic mayhem. I played the arcade version on MAME for a good 45 minutes today and I couldn't get past Round 6, although I came dang close. More practice needed. I've played the latest Draconian build, and I'm completely blown away. The graphics are as good as I could ever imagine for the 2600, everything looks and plays fantastic. 100% stoked for the completed release. One general Bosconian question. Space station cannons are worth 200 points. Blowing up a space station is worth 1500 points. Does this mean that if you want to maximize points you should always destroy all 6 cannons, then the station, for a combined 200 x 6 + 1500 = 2700 points, or does it not work that way?
  23. I think we may be forgetting just how many young retro enthusiasts out there are interested in collecting for the 2600, but just don't want to bother with the hassle of buying a 2600 that may not be in tip top condition, AV modding it (requiring soldering skills they may not have), all to play games with fuzzy picture quality. People want a quick solution these days. They see the stacks of cheap 2600 games on the shelves of these retro game stores, or see the boxes of games going for cheap on Ebay, and think "Huh. It would be fun to start a collection of 2600 games." But then they realize it's not as easy as taking the system home and plugging it into their flat screen, and they lose interest. Now imagine that same person goes into that retro game store, or does a quick ebay search, and sees that there's a $50 Atari 2600 clone system with HDMI, and those piles of cheap 2600 games are still there. They're going to be much more likely to pull the trigger. No hassle. No soldering. No fuzzy picture. Impulse buy.
  24. You have to be realistic when it comes to the price. Yes, you can go onto Ebay and buy an original 2600, complete with a pile of games, for $50 or less, and the AV mod kit for $10. But if you want really crisp picture quality, you need to go for the RGB mod, which costs $100 just for the kit, $100 to have it professionally installed. I would be happy to pay $80 for this system. $80 is a fine price for a system that can play 2600 carts via HDMI. That's what I want, and I'm going to buy a couple of these even if they're $80. I don't want to deal with mod kits, mailing a system in to get modded, buying a $350 Framemeister, etc. I just want an HDMI system that can plug into my modern TV and look amazing. Hopefully that's what this will be.
  25. The issue here for me is the switches... Several games make use of the switches during gameplay, but as an extreme example, let's look at the Starpath game Phaser Patrol, which apparently might be playable either via Harmony cart or Supercharger. In Phaser Patrol the Color/BW switch toggles Shields. Left Diff toggles Star Map. Right Diff toggles Challenge Level. In this game you need to constantly be turning your shields on and off to save energy, constantly toggling the star map, etc. If all of that has to be done through some sort of menu system, it's going to ruin the experience. Why would they even bother with some clunky menu system when they can just have 6 toggle switches?
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